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TikTok - Negotiating morality and ethics PREPRINT.docx (53.21 kB)

Negotiating morality and ethics: the post-Millennial perspective on TikTok

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posted on 13.08.2020 by Marco Scalvini

This study focuses on the contradiction between the alleged inclusivity and diversity that TikTok promotes and its apparent indifference for ethical standards. Specifically, the goal is to explore how post-Millennials (those born after 2000) perceive TikTok and how they adopt moral rationalizations to reconcile ethical and moral conflicts. Relatively little research has focused on young people’s moral reasoning in social media and no study to date has provided the opportunity to voice a user’s own experience with moral issues as they perceive them through their use of TikTok. A thematic analysis of 47 in-depth interviews is applied to explore how young users define the ‘good’ and what significance they attribute to moral principles. Two dimensions of moral reasoning are identified: one that should lead to a more group-oriented mindset, which should, in turn, lead to empathy, whereas the other dimension focuses on moral orientation from a narcissistic perspective.


Declaration of conflicts of interest

No Conflict

Corresponding author email

Lead author country


Lead author job role

Higher Education Lecturer

Lead author institution

Erasmus University Rotterdam

Human Participants


Ethics statement

No sensitive data, Informed consent obtained



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